Ceiling Leak Solutions by Pat Logan on — A Syndicate Of Talent

Ceiling Leak Solutions

Dear Pat: My house had roof leaks, which are fixed, but the ceiling is damaged. Instead of fixing it, I plan to install a dropped ceiling and use it as a media room. Is this easy to do and good for acoustics? Connie M.

Dear Connie: First, make absolutely certain the leak in the roof has been fixed before installing a dropped ceiling. If there still are leaks, they will be hidden from view. Not only will the ceiling below them be totally ruined, but the structural lumber can rot from constant dampness.

The ceiling design of choice for a media room or home theater in an existing house is a dropped ceiling. By choosing the proper type of ceiling panels, the acoustics are much better than just standard drywall. The open space above the dropped panels provides room to run the cables to speakers and also helps reduce the noise to and from above rooms.

Select black or other dark colors for the ceiling if the primary use of the media room is for watching movies. If you plan to do other activities that require you to read, select light-colored ceiling panels and use uplighting. This indirect light reflected from the ceiling is ideal when working on a computer.

A dropped ceiling is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project, especially if your room already has a ceiling light fixture. It does not take an experienced electrician to run the wiring from the existing light’s conduit box to approved light fixtures for dropped ceilings.

The most common size of dropped ceiling uses 2-by-4-foot panels. This is ideal for installing standard 4-foot-long fluorescent light fixtures.

Many 2-by-2-foot panels are also available and can be more decorative. A combination of the two, with the 2-by-2-foot panels used as a border, looks particularly nice. Using 2-by-2-foot panels costs a little more for materials and takes longer to install.

The first step is to plan the layout of the ceiling to determine how many panels, grid supports and light fixtures are needed. Make a scale drawing of the grid with the light fixtures included. Long fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent bulbs are the most energy efficient.

Locate the center of the room on your scale drawing and center a panel under it. If you just start laying them out from one corner, you may end up with space for just a narrow panel on the opposite wall. This does not look good. Cutting the grid members for partial panel widths at all the walls is not difficult with a sharp hacksaw.

A finished target height for the dropped ceiling is typically 7.5 feet. Mark the corners of the room at this height with small nails. Stretch a string between them and check them with a level. If they are level, snap a chalk line along the wall and screw an angle support to the wall.

Using a stud finder, locate the ceiling joists and snap a chalk line along them. Locate the positions of the runners’ supports (perpendicular to the joists). Screw eye screws into the joists every two feet and hang wires from them. These wires support the runners at the proper height. Insert the ends of cross-Ts into the slots in the runners and place the panels on top of the lips.

Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Leave a Reply